This previous week during the month of the Black Cat has been good in some ways and extremely bad in others. First, the good news: I started working my new job during the afternoon hours, and I seem to be adjusting pretty well. I’m still nervous as hell, but I think I’m going to be okay. I’ll be starting there full-time next week, and while I’m very sad to leave the job I’ve been working for the past 4-5 years, I’m very happy to finally be “movin’ on up.”
The building in which my new job is located is extremely bizarre. It used to be a hospital in the early 20th century, and it even contained a morgue. Since that time, the structure has been further built upon in ways that would probably drive an architect into schizophrenia. I work on the fourth floor, and there are times when I need to report to another office on the other side of that same floor. But to do this requires going down to the third floor, walking through a maze of seemingly endless hallways, then going back up to the fourth floor on the other side of the building. This is because the fourth floor is divided into two different sections, and the first time I had to go between them, I got lost somewhere on the third floor for about 30 minutes. At one point, I descended a staircase, looked to my left and saw a glass door with nothing but darkness on the other side. I went down the nearest hallway, got lost, then returned to the staircase I had just descended. I looked in the direction of the glass door, and someone had turned on the lights on the other side. That’s when I saw the table with what looked like a human body hidden beneath a white sheet. There was no one else there; it was as if the lights had turned on by themselves. I shuddered and made my way back up to the fourth floor, then tried to reach my destination again with another staircase.
What I saw probably wasn’t a corpse at all, but things like this – along with the fact that the ceilings are very low, the hallways feel like tunnels, and the carpets look like something from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) – makes the building seem like it’s haunted. According to my co-workers, it is. I’ve even been warned that there might be a crazy homeless person living somewhere in the building (and with all of its labyrinthine hallways, who can ever be sure?). No one seems to know for certain, and these stories were told to me with chuckles and smiles…But it soon became apparent that these people are really, truly uncomfortable with being in the building after dark. Being the person I am, I don’t dismiss this sort of thing; I’m not sure I believe the part about the homeless guy (though stranger things have happened), but there’s definitely something weird about this place. I don’t mind if my workplace is haunted; I’m fine with ghosts, as long as they’re friendly. But I’ve been dreaming about getting lost in those hallways for the past few nights, and part of me imagines that the building itself might eat me at some point when I’m all alone at the office.
(Yeah, that’s pretty silly. R-r-right?)
I’m still waiting for this to happen one day at work.
And that, believe it or not, is the good news. Call me crazy, but I love ghosts. The only thing that sucks about them by default is when people actually go into the process of becoming ghosts – which unfortunately brings me to the bad news. Out of respect for my extended family, I’m afraid I can’t go into very much detail. All I can say is that two people in the family are preparing to join our ancestors. One has only a few weeks at most, while the other may have a few more months. My wife and I were already aware of the first person’s situation, but we were only informed about the second situation last Tuesday. It hit us pretty hard. There isn’t much more I can say about this, other than the fact that things are going to get pretty dark around here for a while. I’m already praying for Seth’s aid in killing the dragon during our oncoming period of grief, but I know good and well that no amount of divine intervention will ever make death seem bearable. I know that something good might come from all of this in the long run; perhaps it will bring certain members of the family closer together, especially those who’ve become estranged. But knowing this might happen doesn’t change the fact that losing our loved ones is going to hurt real bad for a good long while. More on this as it comes and as I become more comfortable talking about it (if I ever do).
To wrap this up on a slightly more positive note, I felt a mad urge to watch Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992) on Saturday night for the first time since I was a sophomore in high school. It was every bit as good as I remembered it being. After finishing the film, I looked Malcolm X up on the internet…and imagine my shock and surprise when I realized that Saturday was the 50th anniversary of his assassination by the Nation of Islam. I totally didn’t realize this was the case when I played the film that night, and I thought it was a very creepy synchronicity. (It might have been a sign from Seth that I’m supposed to talk about him…and considering the racial issues that have been happening in the greater Pagan community lately, I think it very likely is.) I don’t often hear other white people say this, but I have a great deal of respect for Malcolm X. People call him an “extremist,” a “militant” and a “black supremacist,” but this is a misunderstanding generated by lack of knowledge about the man. True, he said and did some things we would later regret; but to the best of my knowledge, he never murdered anybody, and I think his views on violence were completely reasonable (not to mention practical) in the context of the times. Besides, it’s not like he ever killed anyone or encouraged his followers to rise up and kill every single white person they saw. I have a lot more I’d like to say about Malcolm X, but I think this subject really deserves a post of its own.